Macro Arachnids on a Dew Drop Bridge with Stewart Wood

Words and Photos by Stewart Wood - A Platypod Pro
Edited by Eryka Bagwell and Larry Becker

"In the world of macro photography, there are few subjects as captivating and intricate as the jumping spider. These tiny arachnids possess an undeniable charm with their large eyes and agile movements. Add to this scene a blade of grass adorned with delicate dewdrops refracting the image of a nearby flower, and you have a mesmerizing microcosm waiting to be captured through the lens. In this blog post, we'll explore the art of photographing a jumping spider in such a setting, while also highlighting the use of Platypod gear to enhance your overall photography experience."

The Idea:
"I'm always captivated by the work of my good friend Don Komarechka and with having a new pet jumping spider, I wanted to create something extra special. My goal was to create an image of my jumping spider crossing a blade of grass 'bridge' with a flower refracting in the water drops. This kind of shot would be extremely difficult if not impossible to shoot in the wild, getting all of the elements together that make up this shot would be a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, let alone the fact that this species of jumping spider isn't found in the wild here in the UK. With that being said, let’s shoot this scene indoors at my macro studio."

Understanding the Scene:
"Before delving into the technical aspects of photography, it's essential to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the scene you're about to capture. Picture a solitary blade of grass adorned with tiny dewdrops, each acting as a miniature lens, refracting the surrounding world. In the background, a vibrant flower adds a splash of color to the backdrop, its image distorted yet recognizable in the dew-kissed droplets. And there, perched delicately atop the blade of grass, is the star of our show – a jumping spider, poised for its moment in the spotlight."

Gear Preparation:
"To effectively capture such a scene, proper gear is essential. For macro photography enthusiasts, a reliable camera body equipped with a macro lens is the obvious choice. For this image, I’m using my trusty old Canon EOS R with the Laowa 100mm 2 X macro lens and for lighting, I’m using the Godox MF12 Twin macro light (with a custom-made diffuser). However, when setting up the scene, Platypod gear proves invaluable. The Platypod eXtreme is a compact and versatile tool designed to provide a stable platform for the scene or even your camera. The combination of the Platypod Extreme, Elbows and Mini Super Clamps is perfect for setting up complex scenes like this one."

"We’ll use three Platypod eXtremes. Two for the grass and one for the background. You can use one Platypod eXtreme but it will get fiddly trying to fit everything in place. We’ll place the grass between two Platypod eXtremes using the elbows and mini super clamps. The third Platypod eXtreme will hold the flower and the background card (which is used to prevent the 'black' gaps that can happen between the flower’s petals). Once the scene is set we can add water drops to it using a syringe or water mister."

Composition and Framing:
"With your gear in place, it's time to frame the shot. Position your camera at a low angle, allowing you to capture the jumping spider on the dew-covered grass blade and refracted flower. Consider the rule of thirds, placing the spider slightly off-center to add visual interest to the composition. Pay attention to the leading lines formed by the blade of grass, guiding the viewer's gaze towards the focal point of the image – the spider."

Patience and Persistence:
"Photographing small creatures like jumping spiders requires patience and persistence. These agile arachnids may dart away at the slightest disturbance, so take your time to observe their behavior and anticipate their movements. Be prepared to spend some time waiting for the perfect moment to capture the shot. Remember, the best images often come to those who are willing to invest the time and effort to get them. We want to to wait for the jumping spider to walk from one end of the grass to the other, if the spider takes too long you may need to add more water drops as they will dry up over time."


Final Thoughts:
"In the world of macro photography, capturing the intricate beauty of nature's microcosm requires both skill and creativity. By combining the right gear with patience and a keen eye for composition, you can create stunning images that showcase the enchanting world of jumping spiders and dew-kissed blades of grass. And with tools like Platypod gear at your disposal, you can take your photography to new heights – or in this case, new lows – exploring perspectives and angles that were once out of reach. So grab your camera and immerse yourself in the magic of macro photography. Who knows what wonders you might discover just beyond the blade of grass?"


To view Stewarts incredible Macro Arachnid captures (and more) visit his website here and also be sure to give him a follow on Instagram here.


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